Living in London, I can honestly say I had no idea who Kim Kardashian was until I read about her getting double pink lines before a divorce decree. So now we have something in common. Four years ago I found myself driving to the supermarket at midnight to get the fifth pregnancy test after the last four had been positive. I was on the pill, recently separated and desperately shocked. I had sworn that my then three-year-old daughter would be raised an only child and that I definitely did not want any more children.
I separated from my first husband in August 2008. We'd been married for five years but we had married too young and were more like brother and sister than husband and wife. By Christmas, I had moved back into my parents' home with my daughter and started casually seeing someone else. He hadn't met my family, I doubt he knew my birthday or my favorite color, but somehow, in spite of being very careful, by March I was pregnant with his child. On paper I was still married to my first husband when my son was born in October 2009.
The pregnancy was not easy for anyone. I hadn't had time to get used to being separated, let alone becoming a new and unplanned mum. I was working full-time and my daughter was adjusting to a shared custody agreement, suddenly having to deal with a new brother who had a different Daddy. My boyfriend was unemployed, still living with his parents and, at 23, definitely not keen on becoming a young father. My parents were shocked and, I think for the first time in my life, a little disappointed in me. I spent the first few weeks sobbing in between arguing with my boyfriend about the future and trying to explain to my gorgeously confused daughter that it was ok for children to have the same Mummy and different Daddies.
Then there was my "husband" to cope with. I thought the best way was to keep it from him as long as possible -- at least until my 20 week scan, but in the end I told him at 9 weeks. We were in McDonalds on a shared outing with our daughter who was in the play area (we still do shared outings every two weeks and it's the best thing for our co-parenting) and he told me that he had started dating and was feeling happy at last. I suddenly blurted out that I was expecting and nervously awaited his reaction. He did blanche for a minute or two and there was an horrifically awkward silence during which both of us welled up. In a way, this was me telling him that our separation was permanent. Afterwards he told me he was happy for me and would support me in any way he could, including trying to rush through an online divorce. After an awful eight months of distance between us, this conversation was the start of a new mutual respect and friendship with my now ex-husband which has lasted and served us well as our daughter has grown.
My boyfriend and I were hanging on by a very fine thread and I had faced the fact that I was going to be a single mother. I felt certain that he was not ready to commit to fatherhood and the shock had caused him to rebel and revert to teenage-style drinking and partying while I sat at home with bad morning sickness getting fatter. I felt as though I was drifting through my second trimester on a sea of uncertainty, still shocked at what had happened. Less than a year before I had been in a model family, and now I was bringing an accidental child into a broken home.
And then something amazing happened. At my twenty-week scan the sonographer turned the screen away suddenly and went to get his superior. I knew that something was wrong and we were eventually told that my baby was a boy but that all was not well. I had developed early pre-eclampsia and my son still had a beating heart but had stopped growing at 18 weeks. My boyfriend held my hand and it was the first meaningful intimacy between us for a long time. I have to confess that up to this moment, I had seen my baby as an unwanted accidental inconvenience. I had been so concerned about the difficulties of a fragmented family that I hadn't considered how much I had become attached to my growing bump. Sitting in the doctor's office listening to the terribly negative prognosis, I wept as my boyfriend held me and just said "It's a boy". He's always been such an optimist. Bizarrely, one of the first people I called was my husband. He felt for me and agreed to care for our daughter for a few weeks while I tried to deal with the trauma.
Our story has a happy ending. I was put on medication and, with three months in the hospital on bed-rest, I managed to cling on until my son was born, prematurely, weighing two pounds. He has a rare genetic condition which means that his physical growth is slow, but to us, he is perfection personified.
Somewhere between that scan and the many more that followed it, my boyfriend and I fell in love with each other and with our son. In short, he grew up and became an amazing father and there is nothing more attractive than an amazing father.
My ex-husband fell in love again, my parents are the most loving grandparents and my daughter has a brother she adores. We are a blended family in the truest sense and we co-parent with love. And my divorce? We finally got around to it in June 2010 when my son was almost a year old. I married my son's father this past July.
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